Vettel wins European GP in front of Alonso

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Europe, Valencia Street Circuiteu

Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has won the European Grand Prix at the street circuit of Valencia. The German was able to hold off home driver Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari and his team mate Mark Webber.

As is quite common here at Valencia, the weather is great at the start of the Grand Prix. No clouds to be seen and the track temperature already high at 47°C.

As the 5 red lights went out, the Red Bull keeps their leading positions. Massa made agreat start, initially tried to take the inside of Webber but saw Alonso come back through the outside of turn 1. The Spaniard had a rather clumsy start but took back the lost places before turn 2.

Massa then settled in 4th, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Nico Rosberg takes 6th, Button 7th, Schumacher 8th.

Vitaly Petrov had a miserable start and dropped to P15. Pastor Maldonado also lost considerable places and is down to 22nd.

After 5 laps, Vettel has a 2 second lead over Webber who is another second ahead of Alonso.

Button, who was stuck behind Rosberg since the start of the race managed to get past the Mercedes GP driver into turn 1 after using all of his KERS in the final section of lap 5.

On lap 11 Fernando Alonso has slightly closed down the gap to Webber and by enough of a margin to get into the DRS zone. That enables Alonso to post quick second sector times as none of the other front runners have DRS available.

That same lap, the first pitstops are starting to take place. Heidfeld, Barrichello and Kobayashi are the first to make a stop.

At the end of lap 14 Webber pits and takes another set of options. Vettel had several moments already, showing how the rear tyres are nearly at their end of their life. Lewis Hamilton made a stop at the same time as he was unable to keep up with the pace of the leaders.

Vettel and Alonso pitted on lap 15, just like Button and Schumacher. The latter had just been passed by Lewis Hamilton, posting a fastest lap on his brand new option tyres.

One lap later Schumacher is in the pits again for a new front wing. Just as he left the pitlane on the previous lap he saw Petrov cutting the corner and clipping his front wing. After the change, Schumacher returned to the track in 22nd position and is unlikely to get into the points at this event.

Once again, an early stop shows beneficial. Lewis Hamilton is now in 4th, gaining a place on Felipe Massa who pitted 2 laps later than he did. Alonso is still behind Webber but is extremely close, all the time less than 0.7s behind the Australian. One lap later Webber finally succumbs to the pressure and sees Alonso fly by at the end of the first DRS zone.

Sergio Pérez meanwhile is trying a long first stint. By lap 26, nearly halfway through the event he is still on his first set of tyres. He is a massive 5 seconds off the pace. After getting passed by Petrov and Kobayashi he then makes his first stop.

Meanwhile at the front, Sebastian Vettel puts in the fastest lap of the race. He must have gotten word of Alonso closing in on him, so he had to react before the Spaniard came close to the DRS window. After lap 25, Vettel is 3.2s ahead of Alonso, 1.6 more on Webber and then a gap of 12 seconds to Massa. Lewis Hamilton fell back from 4th to 6th as he already made a second stop on lap 23.

On lap 28 Webber stops for the second time as well. He too will be trying to take advantage of the undercut on Alonso. Alonso pits one lap later and loses his place again to Webber. Another lap later, Vettel pits and leaves the pits just ahead of Massa. That leaves the running order now Vettel, Massa, Webber and Alonso. Massa did however pit another lap later without really interfering with the battle as Webber easily got past him thanks to his much fresher tyres.

On lap 33 Button is now complaining that his KERS is not working anymore. The Englishman is now running in 6th place, 37s off the lead and 5 seconds behild Felipe Massa.

In lap 43, with just 15 left to go, Hamilton makes his presumably last stop and switches to the medium tyres. Webber does the same in what is a rather strange pit entry. He was completely out of shape and ovesteery before entering the pitlane. It almost looked like he was just unable to make the corner and eventually decided to make a stop.

Alonso does 2 laps longer on the softer options and rejoins the track in the middle of a pack of cars, but still ahead of Mark Webber.

After all front runners completed their stops, Vettel is still in the lead, 8.7s ahead of Alonso. Webber is 3 seconds down on the Ferrari after outbraking himself. Lewis Hamilton is 30s down on Webber, with Massa a further 7 seconds down.

While positions at the front seem rather fixed, Paul Di Resta is putting up a fight in the last number of laps to try and get Sebastian Buemi. His apparently too short 7th gear looks to hamper his progress there, as top speed isn't higher for him, even with the DRS open.


Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
11Sebastian VettelRBR-Renault57Winner125
25Fernando AlonsoFerrari57+10.8 secs418
32Mark WebberRBR-Renault57+27.2 secs215
43Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes57+46.1 secs312
56Felipe MassaFerrari57+51.7 secs510
64Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes57+60.0 secs68
78Nico RosbergMercedes AMG57+98.0 secs76
819Jaime AlguersuariSTR-Ferrari56+1 Lap184
914Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes56+1 Lap102
109Nick HeidfeldRenault56+1 Lap91
1117Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari56+1 Lap16
1211Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth56+1 Lap13
1318Sebastien BuemiSTR-Ferrari56+1 Lap17
1415Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes56+1 Lap12
1510Vitaly PetrovRenault56+1 Lap11
1616Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari56+1 Lap14
177Michael SchumacherMercedes AMG56+1 Lap8
1812Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth56+1 Lap15
1920Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault55+2 Laps19
2021Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault55+2 Laps20
2124Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth55+2 Laps21
2225Jerome d'AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth55+2 Laps23
2323Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth54+3 Laps22
2422Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth54+3 Laps24


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